Before the Match: Anand vs Carlsen in Russia

The fight for the world chess crown was played in Russia.

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Elizbar Ubilava

The psychological balance between the two chess kings could play a fundamental role in the title match.

In modern chess, there are great similarities between three great players: Robert James Fischer, Gari Kaspárov, and Magnus Carlsen.

These players were ahead of their times, showing an enormous psychological advantage against their contemporary opponents. So when analyzing this match between these candidates’ tournaments we cannot forget that Anand is playing against one of the best players in chess history.

The psychological factors that will make Anand’s task complicated are:

  • Garry Kaspárov (the Russian grandmaster) being Carlsen’s former trainer and former opponent, probably taught the Norwegian player Anand’s weaknesses, drawing the best psychological portrait one can have of the Indian champion.
  • Another negative factor for Vishy is PH. Nielsen, who trained Anand for a very long time and is now helping Carlsen. Although these points could be quite unpleasant for Anand, they won’t determine the match’s final result.

The 2 factors against Anand's future winning on world chess championships are Garri Kaspàrov and Vishy Anand PH.

Gari Kasparov thinking in chess academy eubigm about magnus carlsen and vishy anand match

However, not all factors are against Viswanathan Anand. I believe that the game being played in Russia gives the Indian champion an important advantage since he has lots of fans and good friends there. Being the current environment more favoring to Annand than to his young opponent in the fight for the world title. Another important point is motivation. I consider this a turning point for the Indian genius. I feel this time he is very motivated to show his claws.

Nevertheless, a different question is which should be Anand’s strategy to fight against the reigning champion. In the current circumstances, I think it’s too complicated to believe that Anand will be able to defeat Carlsen playing conventional chess, something he’s already tried and failed at last year in Chennai. Against Carlsen, he has to use non-conventional chess concepts.

“Motivation is the turning point to Vishy Anand. He had to try something different from conventional chess concepts to win.”

You cannot compete with Carlsen by trying to equalize a position and then maintain this equality by trying to make a draw. Viswanathan himself has to attempt to create unbalanced positions, with the unclear and complicated middle game, and press his opponent in this part of the game like he did in the third game.
If Vishy can create this type of positions and maintain a rebel spirit, relying more on his brilliant intuition, even against his strong rationalism, I think this match can be very exciting and the result uncertain.